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Channel Matters Blog > April 2015 > It's not personal; it's business

It's not personal; it's business

by Rich Blakeman
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I'm not sure if it was Mario Puzo's writing, or Michael Corleone's words coming out in The Godfather that first popularized this notion. According to Michael, "It's not personal, Sonny. It's strictly business." The concept got legs from there, getting more popular when repeated by Tom Hanks in You've Got Mail or personalized by George Clooney as the outsourced downsizing consultant in Up in the Air. There is a very popular notion that when things get tough, you have to revert to this mindset to compete and win.
I couldn't disagree more.
I recently lost one of my best friends and colleagues in our business in a tragic accident. While I've been processing all of the emotions of this unimaginable situation, one thing sticks out in the daily conversations, emails and texts between people dealing with the loss: an unbelievable outpouring of emotion, caring, love and prayer from our channel partners who worked with him, went to battle with him, celebrated with him and recognized what a treasure he was.
To our partners, this isn't business. It's personal.
It got me to thinking about how our clients and every channel management team I've ever known relate to their partners (and vice versa).  Is it business, or is it personal?  How many of your team members really know the people at their partner firms? Know their families, know them socially, spent time with them away from work context? Is it business, or is it personal?
Partners are an extension of your brand. To many end customers, partners are your brand. As you create and reinforce relationships with those partners who create both revenue and customer experiences, how much time do you spend getting to truly know and create personal relationships with them? Not golf course relationships or cocktail relationships: the kind of relationships that would cause you to say, "It isn't business, it's personal."
We are exceedingly fortunate that our channel partners have experienced this kind of personal relationship-building no matter how much harder that makes the loss. I can't say enough about the quality of character of our consultants that shows through in these circumstances, and I have no concern about the long-term future of our brand because of it.
How do you feel about your partners? Is it strictly business, or is it personal?
Last modified on 4/2/2015 9:51:23 AM
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